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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kinds of Japanese Music

Music Of Japanese

The word for music in Japanese is 音楽 (ongaku), combining the kanji 音 ("on" sound) with the kanji 楽 ("gaku" fun, comfort).

Traditional Japanese music
The Oldest Form of Traditional Music
Gagaku:
Ancient court music from China and Korea. It is the oldest type of Japanese, traditional music.
Biwagaku:
Music played with the instrument Biwa, a kind of guitar with four strings.
Nogaku:
Music played during No performances. It basically consists of a chorus, the Hayashi flute, the Tsuzumi drum, and other instruments.
Sokyoku:
Music played with the instrument Koto. Later also accompanied by Shamisen and Shakuhachi. The Koto is a zither with 13 strings.
Shakuhachi:
Music played with the instrument Shakuhachi, a about 55 cm long flute. The name of the flute is its lenght expressed in the old Japanese length units.
Shamisenongaku:
Music played with the instrument Shamisen, a kind of guitar with only three strings. Kabuki and Bunraku performances are accompanied by the shamisen.


Folk Music and Song (min’yo)
Folk music Japanese folk songs (min'yō) can be grouped and classified in many ways but it is often convenient to think of four main categories: work songs, religious songs (such as sato kagura, a form of Shintoist music), songs used for gatherings such as weddings, funerals, and festivals (matsuri, especially Obon), and children's songs (warabe uta).
Umui, religious songs, shima uta, dance songs, and, especially katcharsee, lively celebratory music, were all popular.



Popular Music
a. Rock music
Group Sounds (G.S.) is a genre of Japanese rock music that was popular in the mid to late 1960s. The Tigers was the most popular G.S. bands in the era. Later, some of the members of The Tigers, The Tempters and The Spiders formed the first Japanese supergroup Pyg. Homegrown Japanese country rock had developed by the late 1960s. Artists like Happy End are considered to have virtually developed the genre. During the 1970s, it grew more popular. The Okinawan band Champloose, along with Carol, RC Succession and Shinji Harada were especially famous and helped define the genre's sound.
In the 1980s, the Boøwy inspired alternative rock bands like Shonen Knife & the Boredoms and Tama & Little Creatures as well as more meanstream bands as Glay. Most influentially, the 1980s spawned Yellow Magic Orchestra, which was inspired by developing electronic music, led by Haruomi Hosono. In 1980, Huruoma and Ry Cooder, an American musician, collaborated on a rock album with Shoukichi Kina, driving force behind the aforementioned Okinawan band Champloose. They were followed by Sandii & the Sunsetz, who further mixed Japanese and Okinawan influences. Also during the 80's, Japanese rock bands gave birth to the movement known as visual kei, represented during its history by bands like Buck-Tick, X Japan, Luna Sea, , Malice Mizer and many others, some of which experienced success in the recent years.
In the 90's rock bands such as Glay, Luna Sea and L'Arc~en~Ciel, which are often considered visual kei or related to this genre, as well as bands like B'z and Mr. Children achieved great commercial success, some of them establishing marks in Japanese music history. While B'z is the #1 best selling act in Japanese music since Oricon started to count, followed by Mr. Children, Glay was arguably the most massively popular band in the '90s. In 1999 the band played for a crowd of 200,000, the most attended single concert ever held in Japan. Though the rock scene in the 2000s is not as strong, newer bands as Bump of Chicken, Remioromen, UVERworld and Orange Range, which are considered rock bands, although the latter also does hip hop, have achieved success. Established bands as Glay, L'Arc~en~Ciel, B'z and Mr. Children, also continue to top charts, though B'z and Mr. Children are the only bands to maintain a high standards of their sales along the years.
Japanese rock has a vibrant underground rock scene, best known internationally for noise rock bands such as Boredoms and Melt Banana, as well as stoner rock bands such as Boris. More conventional indie rock artists such as Eastern Youth, The Band Apart and Number Girl have found some mainstream success in Japan, but relatively little recognition outside of their home country.



b. Punk rock / alternative
Early examples of punk rock / no wave in Japan include The SS, The Star Club, The Stalin, INU, Gaseneta, Lizard (who were produced by the Stranglers) and Friction (whose guitarist Reck had previously played with Teenage Jesus and the Jerks before returning to Tokyo). The early punk scene was immortalised on film by Sogo Ishii, who directed the 1982 film Burst City featuring a cast of punk bands/musicians and also filmed videos for The Stalin. In the 80s, hardcore bands such as G.I.S.M, Gauze, Confuse, Lip Cream and Systematic Death began appearing, some incorporating crossover elements. The independent scene also included a diverse number of alternative / post-punk / new wave artists such as Aburadako, P-Model, Uchoten, Auto-Mod, Buck-Tick, La-ppisch, Guernica and Yapoos (both of which featured Jun Togawa), G-Schmitt, Totsuzen Danball and Jagatara, along with noise/industrial bands such as Hijokaidan and Hanatarashi.
During the late nineties and early 2000s bands like Hi-Standard, Hawaiian6, Snail Ramp, Garlic Boys, Husking Bee, Nicotine and Going Steady brought Japanese punk to new heights.
Later examples of Japanese alternative bands are Ellegarden, Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, The Blue Hearts, Shonen Knife, Asian Kung-Fu Generation and Maximum the Hormone.

c. Heavy metal
Japan is known for being a successful area for metal bands touring around the world and as a result, many live albums are recorded in Japan. Some notable examples are Deep Purple's Made In Japan, Iron Maiden's Maiden Japan (EP), Blind Guardian's Tokyo Tales, Children Of Bodom's Tokyo Warhearts and Ozzy Osbourne's Live At Budokan.
The most popular metal genre in Japan is Neo-classical metal and Power metal[citation needed]. Bands such as Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, Skylark, Angra, Firewind, and Sinergy have had major success in Japan. Japanese Neo-classical bands also had success among international Neo-classical fans with Concerto Moon and Ark Storm being the leading bands.
Speed metal, Melodic death metal and Doom metal also have followings. Many of the older Japanese metal bands (1980's to 1990's) are speed metal due to the success of X Japan. Extreme metal is usually treated as an underground form of music in Japan. Notable bands are Blood Stain Child, Church Of Misery and Sigh.


d. Japanese Hip-Hop
Hip-hop is a newer form of music on the Japanese music scene. Many felt it was a trend that would immediately pass. However, the genre has lasted for many years and is still thriving. In fact, rappers in Japan did not achieve the success of hip-hop artists in other countries until the late 1980s.
Roots music
In the late 1980s, roots bands like Shang Shang Typhoon and The Boom became popular. Okinawan roots bands like Nenes and Kina were also commercially and critically successful. This led to the second wave of Okinawan music, led by the sudden success of Rinkenband. A new wave of bands followed, including the comebacks of Champluse and Kina, as led by Kikusuimaru Kawachiya; very similar to kawachi ondo is Tadamaru Sakuragawa's goshu ondo.

e. Game music
When the first electronic games were sold, they only had rudimentary sound chips with which to produce music. As the technology advanced. the quality of sound and music these game machines could produce increased dramatically. The first game to take credit for its music was Xevious, also noteworthy for its deeply (at that time) constructed stories. Though many games have had beautiful music to accompany their gameplay, one of the most important games in the history of the video game music is Dragon Quest. Koichi Sugiyama, a composer who was known for his music for various anime and TV shows, including Cyborg 009 and a feature film of Godzilla vs. Biollante, got involved in the project out of the pure curiosity and proved that games can have serious soundtracks. Until his involvement, music and sounds were often neglected in the development of video games and programmers with little musical knowledge were forced to write the soundtracks as well. Undaunted by technological limits, Sugiyama worked with only 8 part polyphony to create a soundtrack that would not tire the player despite hours and hours of gameplay.
Another well-known author of video game music is Nobuo Uematsu of Mistwalker. Even Uematsu's earlier compositions for the game series, Final Fantasy, on Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System in America) are being arranged for full orchestral score. In 2003, he even took his rock-based tunes from their original MIDI format and created The Black Mages.


 

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